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Costs of a coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BCollie, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. BCollie

    BCollie Songster

    Mar 22, 2013
    Redding, CA
    I've read on a lot of sites that the biggest cost of chickens is the coop.
    I don't even know yet if I will be getting chickens, but I really hope I do. Ideally I would want 5 hens, so I would need a coop and run big enough for them. It does need to be predator proof - we have hawks, and some kind of small canine in the area...foxes? coyotes? I'm not sure which it is. The coop would need to protect against those, plus my mothers wild wanna-be-hunter cat. And we do have dogs, but the only dog allowed around the coop would be my Border Collie, who I can easily train to ignore them. That's assuming that it would even be a problem for her, which I doubt. I also foster dogs, but when I let them out they can be put in a separate part of the yard to keep them away from the coop.
    I would plan on letting the hens out every day, when I'm out in the yard with them(to keep the hawks at bay)

    I'd like to build a coop from scratch. Safe, easy to build, and most importantly not too expensive! I'm just a teen, I have no construction experience(though I know my parents would help me) and money is not something that I have a lot of.
    How big would the coop & run need to be for 5 hens? What would it cost me, approximately, to build one from scratch(assuming this is the cheapest option)?
    Can anyone point me to some (free) coop plans that would work with what I'm trying accomplish here?
    Thank you!! Let's hope I can end up getting chickens!! :)

    EDIT: The only possible place for a coop is at the bottom of our sloped backyard, so it would need to be raised off the ground to prevent water from going in it during rain storms
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013

  2. alec120psi

    alec120psi In the Brooder

    Feb 22, 2013
    Depending you if you build it with new or recycled materials will really efffect the cost. Could be anywhere from free to "sky is the limit". I'm building one right now that I hope to keep around $600.00 with some new and some recycled materials.

    Something else to consider is the run getting too wet since it will be at the bottom of a hill that gets water run off. Raising the coop will help keep the house dry, but the run will get really wet. This site has lots of DIY plans that you could use. The simplest one I have seen, seems to be the one done by "Purina" the cat food company.

    Good luck

  3. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Raising the coop off of the ground has advantages. It will be easier to clean and reach inside. The chickens can go underneath to get out of the sun.

    A coop does not need to be complicated. It is just shelter for the chickens. They need to be safe, dry, and ventilated.

    I used the plan at Purina Mills, a freebie, as a jumping off point for my coop. The most expensive components of a coop are the metal hardware and the shingles. Hardware cloth is expensive, but can be found at good prices with diligent searching.

    I built my first coop for under $250. I used up-cycled, recycled, and re-used materials. Make the size a function of normal building material sizes. Sheet goods are usually 4 x 8 feet. Lumber comes in 8, 10, and 12 foot lengths. You can find mis-tinted paint from time to time from paint stores, big retailers, and such. Usually you can get these for $5 a gallon.

    If you check around where houses are having new roofs put on, you can get some leftover shingles. Some jobs are removing fairly new shingles that can be re-used. Places such as Habitat for Humanity have left over items for sale. No way to predict what there may be. I got shingles for one coop from there. Much cheaper than prices for new. Some suppliers may have bundles of shingles that were broken open and cannot be matched, so may be available for much less.

    Chain link fencing can be had inexpensively from fence companies. When they take down fences, they usually pile them up at their office supply yard. These are short sections or sections with damage to them. Since chain link can be taken apart and reassembled by "sewing", these bits and pieces can be used to supply fencing for your run. It can be more difficult to work with than welded fencing because of its weight, but sometimes the price can't be beat.

    You can be creative about what you use. Some get old pallets and make the coops from them.

    As far as construction experience is concerned, there is some older guy at your church, school, or scout troop who could whip this out in an afternoon. Another source of experience might be the local Habitat for Humanity group. Find out who he is and let him teach you to do this. There are a bunch of us out there.

    Good luck.

    1 person likes this.
  4. BCollie

    BCollie Songster

    Mar 22, 2013
    Redding, CA
    Thanks for the replies.

    Edited...see next post..
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  5. BCollie

    BCollie Songster

    Mar 22, 2013
    Redding, CA
    Bigger is better...So maybe I could build for 6 hens, even if I didn't end up getting that many. 4sqft x 6, so that would be 24 sqft coop with a 60sqft run. Since I would let the hens out to do whatever chickens do in the yard for some time each day(hopefully eating LOTS of our annoying bugs!!), I'm not worried about them needing a huge run. It's not like they'd be in it all day.

    Wood pallets...They seem like a great, free source of wood for building a coop. Any downsides to them?
  6. NightHawk123

    NightHawk123 In the Brooder

    Jul 21, 2012
    shelby, north carolina
    The cheapest coop I ever built was one made out of free pallets. I took the pallets apart and reused the wood. It was almost free. Just buy wire and fastners. Take your time building it and it can look really great.
  7. speedy2020

    speedy2020 Songster

    Jul 24, 2010
    My box coop is cheap. The shipping box is free. The total cost for other materials like roof (from craigslist), screws and cement blocks end up $75-$100. The box come with long large bolts that hold the box together. If I do it again, there will be no solid floor so the waste can fall through the floor. You can find the picture here. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/537861/automatic-feeder-attached-to-the-coop
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013

  8. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan Renaissance man

    Feb 18, 2013
    Music City, USA
    If you hope to build it yourself another consideration is tools.

    I am in the process of building a coop right now, probably a bit bigger than what you would need since I'll be keeping almost a dozen hens in it, but the coop materials cost has been about $700. Beyond materials cost though I've easily used another $5-600 worth of tools not counting the truck I own for hauling the materials. I am fortunate that I already owned them but if you had to go buy a bunch of tools that would factor into the cost.

    I'm sure plenty of people also build coops with nothing but a hand saw and a hammer but it makes things a lot easier and faster when you have access to circular, jig, miter, and table saws, nail guns, drills, air compressors, sanders, etc.

    I'm sure you can make it work, it is just something to think about. Good luck!
  9. BCollie

    BCollie Songster

    Mar 22, 2013
    Redding, CA
    Any tips for breaking apart wood pallets? After an hour I managed to get 3 pieces of wood off...I must be doing something wrong...A lot of the nails are really deep into the wood, even hammering from the underside doesn't really help.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  10. 1cityslicker

    1cityslicker In the Brooder

    Aug 2, 2012
    Ferndale, WA
    My opinion is there's no real need to go all out and spend hundreds of dollars on a coop when you can often get free materials on Craigslist that'll do the job just nicely and your chickens won't even know the difference. Unless however you want a coop that's more aesthetically pleasing. I think I spent about a hundred dollars overall.

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